Monday, May 31, 2010


For more than 40 days oil has been spewing (I'm actually in need of a much stronger word -- suggestions?) into the Gulf. In today's Washington Post officials from BP Oil Company and from the administration say that it is possible that the oil will continue to spill (need a stronger word here too) into the water until AUGUST!!!!!! That's four months since the explosion, four month since 11 people were killed, four months since birds, mammals, sea creatures and vegetation were contaminated and starting dying off. It's just way too long. We keep hearing that they are trying to stop the spill -- the "top Kill" (whoever heard of top kill before this disaster?) failed, other attempts have failed and now we are told that the oil may not be contained until AUGUST!!!!, it's just not right.

This is one of those situations where it is easy to feel helpless, BUT every one of us can write a letter, let your representatives know that something must be done sooner. Write to President Obama. He mentioned that his daughter asked, "Did you fix the hole?" Let him know that, like Malia, you are worried that the environment will not be able to bounce back from this enormous disaster.

On another matter that I feel equally powerless to control is Bruce. He came home from the hospital on Friday, had a great night, a good Saturday, an okay Sunday and a miserable Monday. He came back to the hospital today. Right now it seems like I can't do much but watch him, offer him food, make sure he's comfortable and drive him to and from the hospital. Bruce has a wonderful medical team caring for him. At this very moment its beginning to look like even they, fabulous as they are, may not be able to help him. The picture to the left is of Brucie chilling in my office after getting fluids. I am grateful to Dr. Rosen for taking my call as she was to board a plane for home. She listened to the update and instructed me on what could be done for Bruce today. I am indebted to three members of the incredible medical center staff, Evelyn, Kira and Maria for administering fluids today, Memorial Day.
Once again, shelter and medical center staff are here when others are enjoying a holiday. Bruce and I (well, probably just me) are extemely grateful.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Some pictures of Bruce During Healthier, Chunkier Times

Bruce and Merl resting
Bruce and Micky just hanging

Bruce's response when Max told a joke

Big Bruce -- The Cat who Picked Me!

I can't help it -- everyone who has every lived with an animal has a favorite. Of course, I've had more than one favorite, I've had been fortunate to share my home with some pretty remarkable animals including Alvie -- the cat who lived in the sewer pipe before deciding to break through my window screen to live with the other cats, Sidney and Artie -- SamMelvin -- my big orange shelter cat who would eat icing off a cake (and did) as well as anything else -- Dave -- My first DC cat, a very thoughtful guy who allowed my daughter to dress him up in princess clothes -- and Bruce.

Big Bruce picked me and my house 6 years ago. I was not looking to adopt another cat. But, Bruce was a shelter cat with no prospects of finding a home. Bruce, a big boned fellow, was pretty ragged out. His hair was thin and patchy and many bones on his big frame were visible. I decided to foster him. I brought him home and he was welcomed by the other cats -- Fiona, Gladys, Micky & Merl. Why not, Bruce was a blob. For the most part, he just hung out in a basket in the utility room. I advertised him as a sweet, gentle cat who was looking for home. Several people called and a couple of them came to meet him. Each time Bruce was in the basket, and each time I took Bruce out of the basket to show him off -- his long body, his sweet personality, his gentle head-nudge Each time, however, Bruce just crawled back into the basket.

A month later, my family and I decided that since Bruce was no trouble, and since he rarely even got out of the basket, he might as well stay. That very next day I filled out the adoptions paperwork, Bruce was no longer a foster cat, but my cat. And, that very same day, Bruce got out of the basket in the laundry room and never got in it again. He sleeps on my bed, on top of my legs or on top of my head (really) and if I try to move, he swats me. He also sleeps on both of my kids' beds, the window ledge and his kitty cup. He plays hard, really hard, especially with Merl. If Merl says enough with a full-face hiss, Bruce says MORE and jumps on Merl signaling that the game is far from over.

But, Bruce is not playing right now. He's in the hospital. His kidneys are not doing what they are supposed to do. The doctors and nurses are working very hard to get Bruce back on track. He's spent two nights this week in the hospital. The picture of Bruce in his hospital cage shows an anxious cat ready to get out. I keep telling him, "Bruce, you chose to live with me 6 years ago, and now you better choose to get better so you can go back home." It's hard to sleep without Brucie on my legs, or even my head.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cats, Cats, and More Cats!!!

The Washington Animal Rescue League has a GREAT cat room, the resident cats spend time roaming the floor, climbing the kitty-jungle-gym, and playing with lots of cool toys donated by generous supporters. But, as good as it is here, it's not home. We've got some cats who have been waiting a LONG, LONG time for their forever homes. Look at these guys, Bruno, Whiskey, and Jules are just three of the many WONDERFUL adult cats waiting patiently for their someone to say, "I love him, I want him to live with me -- forever!" The more than 5 dozen cats living in the cat room are patiently waiting for homes with people showering them with attention, windows to look out, and multiple beds to curl up on. If your family is thinking about adopting a friend, consider an older cat. Cats have a long life span, an indoor cat can live to be 20 years old! Most kids will be long gone by 20, but a loyal cat, like any of these guys, will be content to stay at home.
To see all of the adoptable animals at the League check out our web site, http://www.warl.org/ or click on the picture of Maya (another long-time resident) pictured in the column to the right.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Homeless Turtles Escape Bulldozers But Face Other Life-Threatening Dangers

Okay, I haven't written anything for awhile because I've been waiting for a fun, happy, feel-good story or event. Unfortunately, I haven't found one and today's entry is nothing but doom and gloom.

An article in yesterday's Washington Post, Gimme shelter -- Folks stick their necks out for Md. box turtles, but ICC may be the end of the road, chronicles the rescue of more than 900 turtles. Since 2008, when bulldozers started plowing through houses, yards, wooded areas filled with hundreds of animals' habitats, volunteers have saved many mini box turtles, most so small that they can fit in the palm of your hand. But box turtles are homebodies -- they would rather not relocate. They have a strong instinct to return to their nesting grounds. A researcher quoted in the article said that that instinct, "...led them past plastic fences that had been chewed through by groundhogs or damaged by vandals."

How necessary is the ICC? Well, it took 50 years of debate before ground was broken. Environmentalists and others tried everything possible to block the 18.8 mile, six-lane highway between Gaithersburg and Laurel, Maryland. Reams of documentation highlighting the loss of habitat for turtles, frogs, snakes and scores of other animals was overlooked for the sake of moving cars more quickly from one county to another. I, along with thousands of Maryland residents, wrote letters of objection during the ICC debate. My neighbor, a wildlife biologist and arborist, was at every hearing in recent memory. Many people tried to stop the construction of the highway and the destruction of homes, neighborhoods, and maybe even entire species. But, the highway is being built; soon, cars will be racing across it. Hopefully, the turtles who are trying to make their way back to their homes won't be splat across the six lanes.

A link to the article can be found on the right. Click on the picture of the box turtle.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kitten Saved, Dog Not So Lucky

This is Be Kind to Animals Week. Obviously not everyone is celebrating.

The following paragraph is from the League's staff newsletter
  • A woman was driving up North Capitol Street when she saw two young men with a kitten. One of them had the kitten by the scruff of the neck and was swinging him as if to throw the kitten into traffic. The woman stopped and asked the young man what he was doing with the kitten and he said he planned to throw him into the street. The woman then convinced him to sell her the kitten for $20. She brought the kitten to the League, where he is being evaluated and will be made available for adoption in the next few days. He is now named Flynn.

The cruelty does not stop there. Early today NBCWashington.com's Nancy Norman and Pat Collins reported --

  • Bear, a lovable 4-year-old lab mix, was shot and killed while playing inside his fenced yard Friday night. Sandra Benson, Bear's guardian, wasn't at her home in the 5300 block of B Street SE at the time. Her 17-year-old daughter let Bear outside. After she heard Bear barking, a shot rang out. She rushed out to the horror of her beloved Bear shot in the neck. Bear was rushed to the Friendship Hospital for Animals. Veterinarians tried everything, but they couldn't save Bear. Ms. Benson said Bear had never bitten or bothered anyone. He was good with children. He never left the the safety -- which turned out not to be so safe -- of the family yard. Perhaps adding to the crime of opportunity is the fact that the street light was burned out so the area was very dark. It's a felony in the District of Columbia. A $1,000 reward is being offered for help catching the shooter.

Thankfully, in Flynn's case, a passerby cared enough to intervene. The little guy is doing well at the League, and in a couple of weeks will be placed up for adoption. He'll have no trouble finding a forever home, he's adorable. Unfortunately, nothing can bring Bear back. The dog was killed for no apparent reason. His grieving guardians lost a faithful companion. Bear's life was brutally taken by a coward with a gun. Someone knows who the shooter was. Any witness should report that information immediately to the Washington Humane Society. People can report animal cruelty anonymously to the Washington Humane Society at 202 723-5730 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week every day. If you live with animal companions, take good care of them. If you know someone who is not properly caring for his/her companion animal, offer assistance, tell an adult, or report any instances of neglect or abuse to the proper agency. Every community in the U.S. has at least one animal welfare or animal control agency. In many areas, animal crulety cases can be reported to the police. Remember animals cannot ask for help, they depend on each and every one of us.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Worst Environmental Disaster -- Continued

The oil spill is not contained -- it's getting worse by the minute. Every news update says a greater number of gallons are contaminating the Gulf. Pictures can't begin to show the devastation. It's sooooooooooo sad. A group of wildlife rehabilitators from Delaware is there trying to rescue birds covered in oil. And still, the underground well continues to spew crude into waters. As bad as it is, we may not know the total impact on the environment on some time. According to one AP news report --
  • "Efforts to prevent the slow-moving mass from washing ashore in parts of four states have been hampered for days by choppy seas and high waves in the Gulf, but forecasts suggest calmer conditions in the next few days."